US Top Tier - Abrams, Hellfires, Anti Air and what needs to change

As feedback was suggested in the latest news, I want to share some regarding the situation of the controversial US top tier and some general assassments. Since I started playing War Thunder three years ago, there has always been a discussion about win rates and possible underpowering of american vehicles. Nonetheless, its the nation I was able to get a nearly complete tech tree with. Some time ago, I already did a post about some general points, which I want to specify now. I really hope that these will get some attention in the developement team. Although the topic is very present in the forums, most of the times it gets irrelevant, going into arguments about skill issues, russian bias and even insulting others. Please, be factual and respect other opinions - Personal skill isnt the point of this post, it should be clear that top nations like the US, UDSSR and Germany do have the most inexperienced players in their premiums in top tier battles. With that out of the way, lets begin with the recent problem.

The Abrams, DU Hull and M829A3
While the M1 Series are definitely great allrounders, even able to shoot down helicopters with the HEAT, their master of none characteristics dont really hold a great place in the game in my opinion. Since they are a driving weakspot, besides the turret cheeks, the playstyle is limited to fast early game positioning and staying hull down. This would be good if War Thunder would be a Tower Defense game, but since you need to capture points in order to win, you cant stay in your spot all the time. The problem is the lack of initiative. If the enemy is charging forward, you can get some good games, but if they are playing their cards correctly, you cant do much about it. Your armour is too weak to play offensive, your ammo isnt strong enough to kill besides enemy weakspots, your mobility, although great for an MBT, is too dependend on maps and enemy positioning. You have to rely on others, like sweden, germany or russia, to make the big plays, since their armour is decent enough to take a punch.
Since the DU Armour was already rejected by Gaijin, I dont want to get too long into that. The reason behind the decision is understandable, even though the turret ring of the tank is still too weak imho. Besides that, I dont think that the armour of the tank is the problem, we already have tanks with better armour in other nations, even if the M1 would get a better turret ring or the DU hull.
Whats more concerning for me is the lack of the proper ammunition, which was rejected too because other nations dont have an equivalent to it. Yes, the penetration of the round is better and would make Kontakt 5 in the hull irrelevant, while it shouldnt be able to penetrate Relic on the newer russian models. So basically, you would be able to defeat russian tanks that are already placed under your 11.7 BR easier, to say the least, exactly as easy as they can defeat you, since they just can shoot anywhere besides the cheeks to penetrate you.
The introduction of this round, even only on the SEPV2, could give it a place in the lineup. Currently, im researching helicopters with the ground FP, cause there is simply no point to get the SEPV2. It would strengthen the offensive capability of the tank, since it would get the strongest round (besides the Object 292, which has the strongest dart anyway…?). It could lead to a better, offensive tank, especially with the recent reload buff, which was a bit over the top for me and could be nerfed if the M1s should be to strong with it.

The Anti Air Dilemma
One of the most obvious problems at 11.0+ is the anti air. And here, the US especially suffers for several reasons: If you dont spawn into the ADATS in first, its 200+ spawn points after you died in your first vehicle, compared to 70 points for any anti air. While the platform is decent, it lacks range and is too expensive to spawn. As the Roland is borderline useless against anything thats moving faster than 200 kmh, you have to rely on short range stingers with the LAV-AD, a great, mobile vehicle if the enemy gets closer to you and a monster tank killer from the side - for 70 Spawn Points!
But there is more to fix: The obvious, short time solution would be to move the ADATS to the Anti Air Spawn Points, so players can get it more often. America isnt the only nation with a lack of long range anti air - Its basically every nation besides russia, with the Pantsir S1. No other nation is able to field something comparable (which is the cause for players being a bit confused about not introducing M829A3 for that reason). In the name of all the other nations: The Pantsir needs to cost more in the short run, and in the long run, nations need to get long range anti air. Im aware of the problem that systems like patriot, S300, IRIS-T etc need several vehicles to function properly, although I dont see a problem in just driving around in the launching vehicle, which would take like half a minute to deploy. They wouldnt be able to target low flying aircraft and helis. You could even test it in an event like before, but with more advanced ammunitions (like the missiles of the SU25SM3) aircraft becomes literally untouchable. Especially when paired with the pantsir, so you cant even defend with aircraft. And with the tendency of top tier maps getting bigger (which is really good for the gameplay), its not that unrealistic to shoot anti air missiles from patriots.

The Apache and the 114L Hellfire
A bit of a sidenote and definitly not the main problem in the american lineup, but something thats just unfair - The AH64D needs to get its fire-and-forget hellfire missiles. There are even more advanced variants with extended range, which would be overkill. But since many nations do have fire-and-forget SPIKE Missiles, there is simply no point of not taking advantage of the longbow radar, the range would still be limited to 8 km compared to 10 km vikhrs. Its a feature that one of the most advanced helicopters in the world clearly misses and which makes it clearly worse compared to extended range (10km) or fire-and-forget helis.

Well, that took a bit long. Some closing thoughts: I dont wanna say that other nations dont have problems, its just not part of that topic and as an american main, Im just more aware of difficulties Im facing in my own games. Furthermore, the communication with the community is way better since the boycott last year, so thank you for that. It encourages players to give feedback and I hope that some of the things I mentioned above will get sorted out or even considered to change.

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The thing with turret ring.
Ufp itself is a weakspot with ~320 ke protection.
Any apfsds with 400+ pen should simply go through it without ricochet

It’s designed with t62 gun in mind with ~ 300 pen

As a Brit main, the ADATS problem is quite a major one. Really needs to be fixed for both and same with the F&F Hellfires. Their justification is the mmV seekers being too OP. But they should just compromise for now and just make them regular IR F&F. Model the mmV down the road when its more balanced to do so. Several nations not having F&F AGMs on their helis is starting to be quite badly felt. Especially as the standard Hellfires we have got arent all that good anyway (average, but nothing special). They are slow, have limited range, dont do much damage and are somewhat buggy (like IOG). Our Apaches need some TLC. (heck if nothing else, gives a reason to add Apache Es)

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Im more of an aircraft enthusiast than tanks, so I dont know much about it and can just speculate here: Wouldnt the US army upgrade the original armor from the 60s to a more modern standard since the original M1 model? In the game, every abrams has the same armor, besides the turret cheeks getting better with the M1A1. Which leads to autocannons being able to penetrate most of its front or being vulnerable to rounds like 3BM25 or even below. But as I said, it would be fine for me to have the armor as it stands right now, if the tank had something else going fot it, like increased firepower.

Agreed. Anti Air is a daring issue in most nations I think, but with the increased spawncost, its even worse for these two nations. On the other hand, many others do not have a top tier anti air at all, its quite unbalanced.
The radar of the longbow can track several targets at the same time und guide the missiles in, if it would be implemented that way it would be way too strong. But as you said, it could be toned down, the hellfires are still slower than laser guided vikhrs and have less range, so it would still be quite balanced… not to speak of the ability of russian helicopters to fly without a tail, carry six Iglas or maybe even some R73s, if they want to implement that in the long run

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DU hull is on SEP3.
M829A2 is the best round in the game, so I don’t need M829A3. No one else has equivalents.
Better air defense might be tied to an AI overhaul, time will tell.

AGM-114L would require the Apache to be BR 13.0 which isn’t in the game yet.
Only hardkill APS tanks and tanks with alleged radar warning would be able to defend against it, thus it should never be added, or added at a BR that can’t face current 11.7s.
IR missiles are defeatable with smoke, and radar missiles are not.

Yes its really good, thing is that it doesnt matter how good a round is, it cant go through the well armored parts of enemy top tier tanks and gets through weakspots just like DM53 or 3BM60 does. I think the discussion about equivalents misses the point of asymetric balancing the game has, as you dont need equivalents as long as sth is still balanced. The most problematic example here is the Pantsir, which also doesnt have an equivalent in other nations, is still in the game and makes it unbalanced. But as the Abrams still struggles in the current meta, giving it a better round could make up for its big weakspots and could lead to a better balancing as a kind of glass cannon with good mobility and worse protection than others. Thats my point.

Fair point, havent thought about that. Still, tanks cant defend against bombs and missiles from planes thrown at them, so theres not that much of a difference. But considering the already dominant CAS, it could be too strong.

I think giving USA Sep V3 (especially considering Germany already have the Leopard 2A7, and Russia having the T-90M) would be a reasonably good idea. Maybe these vehicles should be raised in BR to reduce decompression (perhaps 12.0 or 12.3).
There is no way the Leopard 2A5 should be the same BR as the Leopard 2A7.

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Pantsir already has equivalents, as it’s a useless top air that can’t frag CAS players being semi-good. There’s a reason I only died once to Pantsir unintentionally, and why I teach players how to do CAS when they ask.
Also, top tanks shouldn’t inherently be lolpenned… please play 4.0 again and re-learn armor, it’ll make you a better player for 11.7. Of course some will get lolpenned by M829A2 such as Leclerc, Ariete, and the hull of 2A5 as examples, but a race to the bottom isn’t a fun one especially when USA would be the exclusive user of such a round.
For me I haven’t been struggling with Abrams… mostly HSTVL since I’m spading that, but I bring my M1A1 HC out as well.
Partially cause I use tank doctrine and do my best to avoid onion layer 4 where armor is 100% necessary.

@SanguineSerpent
T-14, 2A8, SEP3, and so forth can come in the future.

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Sep V3 and Leopard 2A8 / T-14 aren’t good equivalents. They are barely in the same ballpark.

AbramsX would make more sense.

They are equivalents though… Though T-14 is inferior to both IRL, they’d be equivalents in the context of War Thunder despite T-14 being inferior on paper and in practice.

It objectively doesnt have any. It has the best missile, range, and radar thats not even giving you a warning. No other AA comes even close to that package. And its not helpful or valid for any argumentation to just flex with own skills and experiences, it simply doenst matter and should be avoided.

Again, going against me as a player or my skill doesnt make your point more valid. Anyway, I dont speak about lolpen any tank. M829A3 can specifically defeat older ERA, found on many tanks with soviet origins. And even then, the turret armor still cant be penetrated. Its about the UFP which would be defeated, just as most NATO UFPs and any Abrams UFP can be penned right now by any top tier round.

I think before adding any, newer tank, the current lineup needs to be filled with other light vehicles or SPAA, since the top is already very thin. But he SEPv3 would certainly help the US, although other nations would get things like the T14 in response. Thats far in the future I think and will involve the implementation of hardkill APS.

Hardkill APS already exists in War Thunder

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Pantsir’s missile range is 12km against jet CAS targets last time I tested it, it allegedly increased to 13km.
It’s only 18km against drones and helicopters.
Radar warning doesn’t mean anything in ground cause you’re flying as if you’re always locked anyway.
Its missile isn’t the best, that goes to TOR-M1’s though that one’s a hard 12km range.

I’m not a skilled CAS player, I’m semi-decent, Pantsir’s just easy to avoid.
M829A2 is what defeats older ERA, which it does in War Thunder as well despite the spaced armor issues War Thunder has with APFSDS rounds.
USA top is the largest lineup in the game with the best light tank… Only Sweden comes close, and Germany close behind with the best MBT in the game.

And as San said, hardkill APS has been in the game for a while now.

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How does the type of target make a difference? The missile can get to a distance up to 18 km no matter the target. And of course, radar warning is sth to be aware of, and the lack of warning is a bonus for the pantsir. Although the TOR has 42 Gs in comparison to the pantsirs 32 Gs, but its way faster with 1300 m/s, the TOR has 850 m/s. So what the TOR brings to the table is more missile overload, the pantsir has a gun, a faster missile with more range and a better radar. Absolutely not equivalent by objective standards, and not to speak about the ADATS, Otomatic or nations without any top AA like Israel.

The lineup is definetly large, but not very competetive in comparison to sweden, germany or udssr. Dont know what you mean with the best light tank, there are way better tanks like the 2S38 (multirole) or the BMP2M, thats mostly reffered to as the best light in the game. I agree with germany having the best MBT in the game.

You are right. I wanted to clarify that things like trophy or arena should be implemented when introducing tanks like the armata or the SEPv3.

Trophy system already exists in-game, Merkava Mk.4M

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Speed, altitude, and maneuverability.
Going mach 0.91< at over 8000 meters altitude over 13km away, semi-perpendicular to the SPAA, the missile will only hit you once every 3 shots when manually guided at 13km, and never if you do minor adjustments in direction.
Pantsir’s missile loses a large chunk of its maneuverability after 12km and quickly becomes ~18G missile, vs the TOR-M1’s 33 sustained Gs out to 12km.

USA has the 2nd best CAS only behind France, with the 3rd best tanks ahead of China and Soviets, 1st place light tank, and largest lineup.
2S38 is no where near a top light tank, it’s a Soviet Strv 9040C, only good around the 10.0 area. BMP-2M has equivalents in half the tech trees, and again only good around 10.0.

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US tanks dont have trophy atm, arena is completely missing, I think you should get the point Im trying to make here…

Well yeah, but since trophy system is already in-game, it shouldn’t be too difficult to transfer it to the Sep V3.
Apparently Challenger 3 will have trophy system, and apparently the Leopard 2A8 would have trophy system too.

I would give the best top tier light tank prize to italy but i might be biased since centauro is love centauro is life

Having the second best firepower in the entire game after the Type 10 isn’t what I’d call ‘‘Master of none’’.

It’s actually among the upper end of frontal armour protection.

The mantlet weakspot isn’t as large as on many other vehicles, the UFP is resistant against any and all APFSDS and the turret cheeks are immune to DM53 at point blank range.

Second best ammo at 11.7, if you are unable to score kills with the immense level of firepower these M1’s have, the issue lies squarely with you as a player.

And yet, nations like Israel, Britain, Italy, France, Japan and China all seem to play offensively just fine, even whilst their MBT’s largely have worse armour protection and often worse survivability too.

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